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Russia to increase flight range of upgraded Tu-160 bomber

The efficiency of the Tu-160 bomber is thus expected to increase by 60%

SAMARA, March 21. /TASS/. The efficiency of the new engine for the upgraded Tupolev Tu-160 missile-carrying bomber will be increased by about 10%, which will allow the aircraft to fly a thousand kilometers farther, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Wednesday.

As part of a check of state defense plan fulfillment, Borisov visited the Samara-based Kuznetsov Company, which is a leading Russian enterprise for developing, producing, providing maintenance for and repairing gas turbine aviation and liquid-propellant rocket engines, and also gas turbine installations for use in the gas sector and power engineering.

The enterprise repairs engines for long-range aircraft - the Tu-160 (NK-32), the Tu-95 (NK-25) and the Tu-22M3 (NK-12) and is creating a new version of the NK-32 engine for the upgraded Tu-160M2 supersonic strategic missile-carrying bomber.

"In its upgraded version, it [the engine] will be 10% more efficient, which will make it possible to increase the flight range of the strategic bomber by about 1,000 km," Borisov said during his visit to the Kuznetsov Enterprise.

As the defense official noted, in 2014 the Samara-based Kuznetsov Enterprise was set the task to reproduce the engine and improve its characteristics.

"We are holding jointly with the Industry and Trade Ministry a regular meeting of the inter-departmental commission, which oversees the pace of work on the upgrade of the Tu-160. The work is proceeding, by and large, according to schedule so far. As for the engine, this is the basic unit, which will determine the performance characteristics of the new plane," the deputy defense minister said.

The Tu-160 is the biggest plane with a variable-sweep wing and one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world. In 2015, a decision was announced to restart the production of the strategic bomber at the Kazan Aviation Enterprise. On November 16, 2017, the new plane was delivered from the final assembly workshop to the flight testing station. Thanks to its upgrade, the efficiency of the Tu-160 bomber is expected to increase by 60%